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Pearce is cruising toward re-election

Heath Haussamen

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., appears, at least at this point, to be cruising toward re-election.

Pearce currently has no challenger except a little-known candidate from Roswell, even though Washington expects serious challengers to incumbents to already be raising money.

The latest potential challenger to bite the dust is Sunland Park Mayor Martin Resendiz, a Democrat who the Albuquerque Journal reported this morning admitted during a deposition to signing city contracts while he was drunk – and to not even knowing what he was signing.

That’s not going to earn him any points with voters in the 2nd Congressional District. Resendiz told NMPolitics.net in early May that he would officially form an exploratory committee the following week, but said it was a formality and that his decision to run for Congress “has already been made.”

Since then, we’ve heard nothing from him about running against Pearce.

Another potential candidate has also been consumed by scandal. Political insider Edgar Lopez of Las Cruces, who heads a real estate company, told NMPolitics.net in February that he was considering running. However, he’s made little noise since, and District Judge Mike Murphy’s bribery indictment makes it unlikely that Lopez could mount a credible challenge to Pearce.

Though Lopez hasn’t been charged with any crime, he’s the man to whom Murphy allegedly gave the money that bought his judgeship.

The only other well-known Democrat who publicly considered running was former State Rep. Nate Cote. But after looking at the numbers Cote decided that, unless redistricting significantly changes the makeup of the district, he won’t run.

That leaves Frank McKinnon of Roswell as the only Democrat in the race. He ran in 2008 but was knocked out by the Democratic Party’s Central Committee when he received only 1 percent of the vote at their preprimary nominating convention. The Democratic Party is unlikely to give him any more credibility this time.

Redistricting won’t likely help CD2 Democrats


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Redistricting isn’t likely to make CD2 more favorable to a Democrat. Most of the plans being considered would actually make it a safer seat for Pearce.

To make matters worse for Democrats in Southern New Mexico, there are plenty of Democrats up north who are OK with handing CD2 to Pearce in exchange for making the Third Congressional District more favorable to Democrat Ben Ray Luján and keeping the 1st Congressional District a toss-up or maybe also making it more favorable to Democrats.

Things could have been much different. I wrote in January that the battle for speaker of the N.M. House of Representatives would impact redistricting. If Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces had won, Southern N.M. Democrats would have had a fighting chance to push for a congressional district less favorable to Pearce. Instead, Luján’s father is the House speaker.

The reality is evident in the fact that Pearce doesn’t yet have a credible challenger. The longer Democrats go without finding someone to seriously challenge Pearce, the less likely their chances of finding a credible candidate become.

Democrats don’t yet have a serious candidate in the race because they look at the numbers and the history of the district and see reality: With an incumbent Republican seeking re-election, the district, with these boundaries and in this political climate, probably isn’t one of the best investments they can make.

For better or for worse, Pearce’s re-election chances look very good right now.

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8 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.

  1. Maybe Senator Steve Fischmann might consider this opportunity to represent New Mexico on a national level.

  2. I think you have the reasoning 100% correct, Heath. I do know there is a new person considering a run, but am not authorized to make any announcements. If Democrats can hold on to CD1 we will still have 2 blue districts out of 3, which is better than we had in 2006.

    The only thing Pearce is doing differently now is following in Teague’s footsteps by holding more town hall meetings and making more robocalls, though he hasn’t bothered to open an office in Alamogordo as Teague did.

  3. I disagree, even weak candidates have polled over 40% of the vote against Pearce. . Minorities make up over 55% of this districts population. A strong westside Candidate could defeat him. Like Joseph Cervantes. I would like to see Bill McCamley run again. I felt like he was a much better campaigner than Harry Teague!

  4. I think Hemingway should run :)

  5. I love this quote of Mr. Pearce: “Jobs are my top priority in Congress. By giving Americans the freedom to work, we can increase our nation’s income, reduce our debt, and put America back on the road to financial recovery.”

    Here is the current batting average of Mr. Pearce in creating jobs in New Mexico: .000

  6. True, I am sure the left wing Dems would love to carve out NW and NE NM from Ben Ray’s disrtict, give them to Pearce, and then take more libs from the Albuq. area (like the south valley) and give to Ben Ray. Then they would love to take more libs from southern NM and put them in CD1 to tilt it from a toss-up to solid Dem. It will be interesting to see what the left wing controlled legislature and courts will cook up.

  7. Congressman Pearce has done nothing for Dona Ana County. The Democrats are in disarray in the county.

    Serving as Congressman from 2003 to 2009 and again in 2011, Mr. Pearce has had no original thoughts regarding jobs. In fact he even voted against worthwhile legislation to invest in jobs in renewable energy and homegrown biofuel. Mr. Pearce has done nothing at all in job creation in Dona Ana County. His six year record is dismal with the county’s total jobs ranging between 65,000 and 69,000 with no assistance from our “do nothing” Congressman – just hot political rhetoric. However, Mr. Pearce has been one of hardest working politicians in Congress when it comes to the oil and gas agenda.

    I guess there is no Democrat with guts and courage to oppose him.

  8. To make matters worse for Democrats in Southern New Mexico, there are plenty of Democrats up north who are OK with handing CD2 to Pearce in exchange for making the Third Congressional District more favorable to Democrat Ben Ray Luján and keeping the 1st Congressional District a toss-up or maybe also making it more favorable to Democrats.

    Once again, Democrats in southern New Mexico have no one to blame but the Democrats in northern New Mexico. They just want your votes in statewide elections and for you to elect enough state senators and reps to keep folks like Lujan and Sanchez in power.

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